NOT DOING #NaNoWriMo Writing Plans

People keep asking me: Are you doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)?
I say, “No.”
They seem surprised.

I decided to explain.
Here are my NOT DOING #NaNoWriMo Writing Plans:

    1. Job-hunting. Must do. Have to get some income besides the trickle of pennies my 2 ebooks currently provide. Hope to add GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT to my list of November activities by November 30, which is more important than adding thousands of words to my computer. For me. This involves writing: cover letters, emails, queries. Hundreds of words. To people (or ‘bots….).


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      2. Marketing Ongoing. Trying to upgrade my trickle of ebooks’ sales’ pennies to a stream to a flow to a… .well, you get the idea. Includes blogging, tweeting, commenting on others’ blogs, guest blogging, reblogging with comments added, promoting my ebooks in The Spanners Series, begging for more reviews for my ebooks, writing reviews on Goodreads and posting them to Amazon of books I may get a chance to read and review, promoting my G+ HOA, *CHANGES*, and hosting the almost-weekly talk show on Wednesdays (10 AM EST USA).
      This involves writing: blog posts, site posts, tweets, comments, reviews, promos, emails (mostly to *CHANGES* guests and reviewers). Hundreds and probably thousands of words. For social media.


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        3. Writing novels Ongoing. I am about half-way through Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change of The Spanners Series and wish to finish it this fall. I had planned to finish Vol III and work more on Vol IV, which I’ve barely started, by the end of August but a serious accident/concussion postponed achieving these goals by many months. I also have to finish collecting and reworking the researched bits that belong to these Volumes and perhaps future ones. This includes coming up with and agreeing on a cover design for Vol III with my cover artist, Aidana Willowraven.
        This involves writing: For the rest of Vol III and I hope some of Vol IV, Changes in Attitude/Changes in Latitude, as well. Tens of thousands of words. For novels.

        Cut pieces of paper with text on SEO theme. Isolated on white.

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          4. Editing/Proofreading All of the above require both, and perhaps I will do some for hire (I hope). I’m available. Will negotiate: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com
          This involves writing by rewriting, hundreds and thousands of words, many times. For improving all writing. Everywhere.


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        (“edit” should have quotes around it…)

        Why am I not doing NaNoWriMo? I’m BUSY writing!

        I wish I could take a month and work only on ONE novel/project!

        Good luck to all who are doing NaNoWriMo!

Another Reason Why Reviews Are So Important

Authors ALWAYS appreciate #reviews! Especially this one, for Volume II, “This Changes My Family and My Life Forever,” of “The Spanners Series.” for info

Author P.S. Bartlett

Getting listed on book suggestion web sites.

I’d really love to be able to have The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge included in the Fussy Librarian email book suggestions but unfortunately, I still only have 5 reviews on Amazon.

The Fussy Librarian requires 10 reviews and at least a 4.0 rating.

I’m crossing my fingers and toes this week that some of you wonderful folks who have either purchased the book or won it for free in a raffle or contest, will find a few minutes to post your reviews. Thank you so much!!!

*The Fussy Librarian emails you with the e-books matching your unique interests and content preferences.

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Welcome to an Interview with (the wonderful) Olga Nunez Miret

Great interview! I loved that you included an excerpt and asked such great questions, David: you did some of my “homework” for me, since I’m having Olga on my *CHANGES* Google+ Hangout on Air on 11/19/14, 10 – 11 EST USA, in a LIVE conversation! Please join us or visit the Youtube video afterwards!
Details and URLs will be on about 5 days prior to the show.
Best to you all!

Sally Ember


Welcome to an Interview with : Olga Nunez Miret


Author of. I Love Your Cupcakes


A brief synopsis.

Dulce, Adelfa and Storm, the protagonists of I Love Your Cupcakes are business partners, friends and share some “interesting” family connections. All the men Dulce meets only ever talk about her cakes and she’s tired of it. Her friend Adelfa, although she’s a Chemistry Professor, can’t manage to find the recipe for the perfect relationship. And Storm, the third of the partners of their bakery/coffee shop/bookshop/art gallery and ex-fire station, is an artist who is not a master in the art of love. How could they imagine that at the studio of the contest “Do You Have What it Takes to Be the Next Baking Star?” they’d find sexual harassment, cheats, fights and also love?

With dogs, fire trucks, London double-decker buses, school buses, artists, chemists, engineers, architects, intrigue, scandals, bigamy, and…

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CONTROVERSY: #Buddhists and #Organ Donation at #Death

As some of you know, I have been a practicing #Buddhist in the #Tibetan #Vajrayana #Nyingma tradition since 1989, informally, and since 1996, formally (in this life, anyway…). These traditions, as taught to me originally by the late His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and by many of the Western Lamas he ordained, including my current teacher, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (Lama Drimed, as he is known), include very specific preparations for death which we do as a part of our daily practices as well as recommendations as to how we want others to handle our dying and death processes and manage our dead bodies.


H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

In fact, packets and instructions have been sent to students detailing what to give loved ones, friends, medical professionals and hospice workers–anyone attending our dying process and death event—so that, if we are unable to verbally convey our last wishes, everyone will know what we want to happen (and not happen). These written instructions, which each person can modify to their choosing, have been very comforting and useful for the friends and sangha (Buddhist community) members who have faced this while dying or being around meditators who are dying or who have just died.

Because Buddhists in our tradition (and many others) believe that a recently deceased person’s consciousness stays in or around the body for many days after death (up to 49, but certainly the first 3 – 7, for meditators), most directions talk about not moving or even touching the body (or touching it only in specific places, avoiding touching the bottoms of the feet, for example) in order to help the deceased meditators maintain the meditation and move our consciousness intentionally onward while we are are “in” this bardo period (between place/time, rough translation).

Buddhists have special rituals, such as Sur and P’howa, taught and practiced daily or weekly, which involve visualizations and prayers. We also usually include “offerings” of incense or other burnt substances (as in Sur) and music, such as the clanging of the tingshas (small, heavy ritual cymbals) or ringing of bells, and chanting specific mantras to honor, assist and “feed” the recently deceaseds’ wandering spirits during this time.

To commemorate someone’s death, we also light butterlamps (oil lamps or candles suffice), release animals from captivity who were marked for death (bait fish, worms and prey animals in pet stores, for example), dedicating the merit of these actions to their passing more positively while in the bardo and when entering into their next lifetime.

fish release saving lives

“Taiwanese Buddhists release catfish into a river during a ‘mercy release’ ceremony in Taipei.” image from

With all of this attention to maintaining the dignity and meditation of the dying and dead person, how/when could one donate organs? Sangha members posed these questions to Rinpoche before he passed and to living teachers, with mixed responses. Some indicate that if you want to be an organ donor, you have to choose to give up your chance to do these practices during and after dying/death. Personally, I think this view is an opinion that could be challenged. However, it is widely circulated.

So far, I don’t know of any sangha members who died who also donated their organs, and several have died in the last ten years whom I knew personally and well. I decided to be an organ donor before practicing Buddhism in this life and I have signed up in every state I’ve lived in since, including my most recent move to Missouri, whenever I get a new driver’s license.

I believe in organ donation because it’s the right thing to do, in my mind. Also, six people I know and love received life-saving organ and/or bone marrow donations. I was tested (but not selected) to be one of those donors about twelve years ago.

Jaye Laughing

My dear, recently departed friend, Jaye Alper, enjoying her extra years because of a donated kidney.

How do I reconcile being an organ donor with being a serious meditator who does these time-of-death practices? Like this: None of these pre-modern-science meditators ever faced these decisions and dilemmas, so how could they have prepared for, much less taught about how to make organ donation choices?

Points to consider:

  • Our consciousness does not reside in this body; we use it for a while and then our consciousness moves on. We Buddhists all agree on that, yes?
  • This existence is all illusory, including being in this body.
  • The highest act of generosity anyone can make is to give one’s body. We visualize this in Chöd practice and other meditations daily; why not DO it? Actually GIVE our body parts!
  • At my time of death (and right before, if I’m brain-dead but not physically dead, yet), the most useful thing I can do is to donate my organs so that others may live, see, breathe, etc., by using them.
  • I certainly won’t be needing my organs any longer at that point.
  • If my commitment to meditation practice is strong and steady, it won’t matter where my consciousness “is” when this body is dying and dies. How could it? How much can it really matter where and how this body is moved or touched, then?

Also, and I don’t mean to sound condescending, I believe that a large portion of Buddhist tradition and thought, particularly that which comes from Tibet, is steeped in the superstitions, fears and other unsupportable beliefs that pre-dated Buddhism, such as those from Bön. Furthermore, indigenous Shamanic traditions rooted in many Buddhist cultures share these older views.

However, our commitments to practice generosity, be less selfish, try to make others happy, and our motivation to save lives and alleviate suffering are supposed to triumph over fears for all of these faiths. I hope we can agree on donating organs in these modern times.

Most Motor Vehicle Bureaus have a organ donor registration as part of the license-getting or -renewal process. if you don’t drive, find a way to become listed as an organ donor. Get tested to be a live donor by participating in the Bone Marrow registry as well.


We are all going to die. We meditate on impermanence, on death, every day. We get used to it, as meditators. Let’s do more than become accustomed to death: let’s use it for benefiting others.


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How great it is to live in a time that allows us to gift others with our body parts and help them live better, healthier, longer lives? As we get closer to the USA celebration of Halloween and the Mexican commemoration, El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), 10/31, how fitting is it to consider death in productive ways?

Click below to sign up and become a registered donor. Pass this on, please.

Misogyny: Every Little Bit Matters

Excellent insights and very timely. I especially like this part: “No more placing ‘heroic’ males athletes next to scantily clad, seen-but-not-heard women. No more objectification of women in ‘family-friendly’ venues and outlets. No more making excuses for abusers just because we’d rather not view them as such.”

The Melissaverse

I have been forced, through sheer volume of Twitter exposure, to learn what #Gamergate is.

I’m not a gamer. Never have been. I have no reason to take any interest at all in the internal politics of the gaming community. But there’s this stupid hashtag peppering my Twitter feed, compelling me to find out what the hell it means.

Well, sort of. I know what some of its proponents say it means and I know what basically all of its opponents say it means. To be frank, I don’t care how it started (actually, given that the term was coined by Adam Baldwin, I’m actively bummed to know how it started) or whether the original accusation of bias has any merit (seems like it doesn’t, but I’m not going to do enough research to be able to speak with any authority on that). Here’s what I care about: Gamergate…

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Love an Author Leave a Review

PLEASE leave reviews! THIS author especially needs them for Volume II, “This Changes My Family and My Life Forever,” of “The Spanners Series.”

Official Site of Alex Laybourne - Author


I know that this is a drum much beaten, but there really is no better way of showing your support for an author than by leaving a review.

ReviewAs the indie writing culture continues to develop, and strengthen its place in the writing structure (and in the term Indie I include self published writers, for the sake of not having to write it individually every time), the importance of effective advertising is becoming even more evident.

A lot of writers, myself included, do not have a big budget to operate on. Personally speaking, I don’t even have the disposable income to run a $5 Facebook promotion without seriously having to rebudget the family groceries for the week ahead.

Using Facebook groups and blogs is good. Social Media is a growing beast and has a reach that offers more than enough potential readers to justify the free postings and link shouts…

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